Long Beach Officials Provide Safety Tips for 4th of July

americanflagThe City of Long Beach has some safety tips for residents celebrating the Fourth of July this weekend, including how to be safe from the sun, around fireworks and in the water.

Officials recommend attending a public fireworks show to avoid harm. We’ve highlighted some of these locations, including checking out the Queen Mary’s fireworks display while on a cruise or at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.

“Unfortunately, use of store-bought, ground-based fireworks can often result in serious burns, hearing loss and other injuries,” city officials said.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, there has been a decrease in fireworks injury rates, mainly due to the increase in popularity of professional fireworks shows.

Yearly, people are accidentally injured while using charcoal or gas grills, officials noted.

Here are some tips they recommend for same cooking:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
  • Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
  • Grill out in the open, away from the house, tree branches, or anything flammable.
  • Use long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  • How to properly dispose of the charcoal: You can place the cover on the grill, close the vents and allow the coals to burn out completely. Let the ashes cool for at least 48 hours and then dispose of them in a non-combustible container, or if you must dispose of coals before they’ve completely cooled, remove them individually with long-handled tongs and carefully bury them in a can of sand or in a bucket of water. Never pour a pail of water over the hot coals, or vice versa. The steam from the charcoal will burn you.

Beach-goers should also follow these safety tips:

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area and obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Always swim with a buddy.
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check for warning signs or flags.
  • Alcohol and BBQs are not permitted on the beach.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear an approved flotation device.
  • Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children while at the beach.
  • Southern California beaches are impacted with sting rays: shuffle your feet, splash and make noise when entering the ocean rather than walking directly into the water. This reduces the risk of being stung on the foot or ankle.
  • Rip currents are responsible for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. If someone is caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, they should turn and swim toward shore. Stay 100 feet away from piers and jetties permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

Those planning to boat should make sure their vessel is in working order and packing the required safety gear, including life jackets. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers complimentary checks.

Boating safety tips include:

  • Use an observer if towing a person, stay a safe distance from the shore and use good judgment operating around other watercraft.
  • The majority of personal watercraft related accidents occur when someone other than the registered owner is operating the vessel. Make sure that people borrowing your vessel know how to operate it.
  • A standup paddle board is considered a vessel; a life jacket is required for each person.
  • Bring your life jacket, but leave the alcohol at home. The side effects of alcohol are impaired judgment, reduced balance, and poor coordination which are magnified by the boating environment. It is against the law to operate a boat or water ski with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more.

Finally, for anyone planning to be outdoors, officials recommend a limited exposure to sunlight between 10:00AM and 4:00PM and the use and reapplication of sunscreen of at least SPF 15.

Other tips include:

  • Drink plenty of water, even if not thirsty, and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.
  • Protect your feet with sandals or shoes from hot sand and hazards on the beach or in the parking lot.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin, changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, or rapid, shallow breathing.
  • If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
    • Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
    • Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
    • Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying flat on their back until help arrives.

Photo by Stephanie Rivera. 

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.